Animal welfare organizations AnimaNaturalis and CAS International documented the suffering of a bull in Spain whose horns were set on fire on Saturday.
The Toro de Jubilo festival in the small town of Medinaceli in Spain represents a tradition that has been controversial due to its significant animal welfare concerns.
A wooden structure is attached to the bull’s horns, which is then set on fire. To set the structure on fire, the animal is tied to a pole. The animal exhibited extreme signs of distress, struggling to get away from the fire on his head.
Bull tied to a post
“From the start of the bull festival, it was clear that something was wrong with the bull. He walked with a tilted head, presumably due to the weight of the wooden structure with burning material fastened to his horns,” CAS International said, adding that it took eleven minutes to set the structure on fire.
“All this time, the bull was tied to a post. As a result, the bull collapsed several times under the weight of the wooden structure. The bull repeatedly received blows to make him stand up again and continue the event,” CAS added.
According to the event’s organization, the bull’s head is coated with mud to prevent burns from the fire. Despite this, veterinarians say the fire significantly impacts the bull, and the animal experiences extreme stress, fear, and suffering. “The fire bull of Medinaceli is one of the bull festivals that provoke the most outrage at both national and international levels,” CAS International said.
“The shocking thing is that all the events of Saturday proceeded according to the official regulations. For these kinds of festivals, it’s even established in the regulations that this animal abuse is legal and thus can be carried out during the festivals,” Maite van Gerwen, director of CAS, said.
Fire bull festivals also happen in other places in Spain. They are more common in smaller towns and rural areas, where they are often deeply rooted in local tradition. Some cities have replaced live animals with mechanical bulls.
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